EPA Calls for Dam Removal on Montana' s FERC Project Milltown Dam


On April 15th, the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Montana jointly issued a proposed Superfund cleanup plan that calls for the removal of FERC project Milltown Dam. The action follows a local groundswell that ultimately turned the president and governor from opponents of dam removal into supporters.

Intense mining upstream has allowed heavy metals to tumble into the Milltown Reservoir, over time rendering the waters toxic. The Environmental Protection Agency considers the dam' s impoundment a Superfund site and has spent years evaluating clean up options. Area citizens have been clamoring to remove the old, failing dam before toxics leach into the groundwater system or worse, the dam breaks. Unfortunately, EPA already is responsible for delivering clean water to many nearby households whose water supply has been poisoned by arsenic. Removal of the dam will eventually provide badly needed fish passage for a variety of trout species including the endangered bull trout.